“The UNP-led government can take enormous credit for this and as a nation we can look forward to a brighter future. It truly shows how far Sri Lanka has come in recent years and must be seen as an endorsement of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s reforms, Minister of Enterprise Development Kabir Hashim told the Sunday Obsever.
In granting GSP+ approval criteria is very strictly set to ensure those countries that are approved implement methods of good governance and sustainable development.
The government has been able to secure international recognition of improvements in Sri Lanka in human rights, labour rights, environmental protection and good governance, Minister Hashim said.
When Sri Lanka lost the GSP+ concession in 2010, it was a dark time for the country. Since then UNP led reforms have embarked on an ambitious program of major reforms aiming for national reconciliation, respect of human rights, the rule of law and good governance principles, as well as sustainable economic development.These progressive reforms now have a practical economic outcome in that GSP+ will offer huge opportunities for Sri Lankan business. Under GSP+ status Sri Lanka qualifies to export its products tax-free to the European market. The EU is Sri Lanka’s biggest export market accounting for nearly one-third of Sri Lanka’s global exports. Last year exports to the EU were worth 2.8 billion euros. According to deputy foreign Minister, Harsha de Silva, reinstatement of GSP+ is expected to be implemented within two weeks.